Barang - An Orphaned Child in Philippines
Sitting on the bed near his grandmother, 8-year-old Barang holds his mum’s photos and the tears roll from his eyes,
“I miss my mum and she used to be always with me.”
“Barang has a father, but it is the same as being an orphan,” says his grandmother, Hum Noi who is 70 years old.
Under a hut with a zinc roof without a wall, Barang stays with his grandmother, an older sister and two cousins.
After his mum passed away 4 years ago, Barang’s father remarried and Barang was left behind with his grandmother.
She shares her concerns,
“Since his mum passed away, his dad has had a new wife and has never visited or supported Barang. Barang spends his time sitting in front of his mum’s grave near the house.”
“Once when Barang was in school, his friend called him [a boy without parents] and he cried without response,” his grandmother says.
Every morning, Barang and his siblings would have to take a 30-minute journey to trudge through paddy fields and quiet roads just to reach school.
His grandmother is laden with fear and worries about the safety of her grandchildren as she used to hear stories about children being kidnapped in that area.
To ease her worries, she would sometimes accompany them for about 1 kilometre of the journey, but couldn’t do it every day due to her age and her job.
Barang’s grandmother is a grocery seller and earns an irregular income of 2.5 US dollars per day.
She makes Prahok baskets - a basket made from bamboo and it is used for cooking.
“After school, Barang and his sibling help to make the baskets. He is really good at doing it,” says the grandmother.
In addition to making the baskets, Barang also spends his time out in the paddy fields catching crabs and mice as food for his family.
His grandmother adds, “One day, Barang caught four snacks from a paddy field. We cooked a nice soup for food together.”
However, when the money runs out and Barang didn’t manage to catch anything, the family has to skip their meals.
World Vision has helped the family by providing emergency support, mobilising them to join the Child Sponsorship Programme, and also encouraging them to send Barang to school.
Currently, Barang is 13 years old and in grade 4. His family has received livestock to produce more food and increase their income. Barang has also been taught how to promote child protection in his community and has received help through reading camps to improve his reading and writing skills.
“When I grow up, I want to be a policeman so I can protect the people here,” says Barang.
This year, will you make space in the home of your hearts for an orphaned child?